Thanksgiving Weekend in Baltimore (25-29 Nov)

Some delicious treats I made for Thanksgiving at my girl friend’s house: pilgrim hat cookies and Kisses acorns.

Sitting on the concrete island, I discovered that pallet jacks/trucks often travel in the bike lanes in NYC’s Chinatown.

Wednesday, 25 Nov

Today, I set off to my girl friend’s house in Maryland for Thanksgiving. Maryland here I come!!!! This time around, my bus trip was taken with ChinatownBus. It was pretty cheap, but I can attest to the fact that it wasn’t a smooth ride. I left and rode into New York City (NYC) at 9am when Boston was barely awake. The first leg of my ride was spent with a busload of college kids who were either going home or going with a friend to their’s for Thanksgiving — aka it was a very quiet ride as these college kiddos were barely awake.

Upon my arrival in NYC, I stranded myself on a concrete island for a good 2-3 hours while I enjoyed my Trader Joe’s lunch I had brought with me from Boston. Yes, I said concrete island. What do I mean? Well, in this strip of Chinatown where I was to stay — you know, so I don’t miss my bus — the “two way” traffic was separated by a concrete “island,” — or as some people call it, a divider, or a median strip. However, unlike most islands with trees or grass or having just plain concrete, this island had a few planters and trees and several benches. It was essentially a walkway/park in the middle of a street. Strange, huh? But there it was and there I stayed for a few hours.

What next? I loaded up on the bus to go to Baltimore from NYC. Little did I know, I got lucky with my choice of location to get on the bus. The bus stop I had chosen was, as known by the frequent travelers of this bus line, the first stop in NYC where the Chinatown Bus picked up passengers. We were so full at this “first stop” that we completely skipped the “second stop” in Midtown and headed straight to Maryland. It made that second leg of our travel a little more comfortable, albeit a bit cramped. What more? I got to sit next to a girl who went to school in Boston and now works in NYC. We had a great chat about the most random things of life without even exchanging our names — not even joking. It was awesome and it made time pass by SOOOO much faster.

My delicious plate of linguine with white clam sauce at the Olive Grove.

Sadly, we were forced to part ways at Wilmington, Delaware where our bus had a stop along its route before its final destination in Baltimore, Maryland. There were so many of us that got off the original bus at Wilmington that the bus drivers had us move buses and consolidated two buses going along the route into one bus going to Baltimore. Thus, for the third leg of my trip — which was already delayed by this point — I sat next to an artist who had grown up in, again, Boston, and had moved out to NYC to pursue a life.

When I finally arrived in Baltimore, I was beat and happy to finally sit down and have my first meal with my girl friend at Olive Grove, an Italian restaurant. No, no, not the chain Olive Garden, but this lovely home-styled restaurant with the freshest seafood ingredients called Olive Grove. I ordered a scrumptious linguine with white clam sauce. Oh, it was so mouth-wateringly divine! The end…for the day, at least.

My girl friend’s cute little boy cat playing with catnip bubbles.

Thursday, 26 Nov

HAPPY TURKEY DAY! Today, I had a lovely second “real American” turkey day — the first being last year with my 4th grade teacher. Boy, little did I know what I had gotten myself into by accepting the invitation to spend Thanksgiving at my friend’s! First and foremost, I had a blast making some delicious, cute Hershey Kisses acorn treats and some pilgrim hat cookies. Second, I got to see how much planning went into preparing a Thanksgiving dinner alone, as she had a whole schedule set up as to when she was going to put certain dishes into their slow cookers and/or when the turkey had to go into the oven and other seemingly minor details. It was intense! Lastly, I got to really experience “Black Friday” shopping — ironically enough, on the Thursday Thanksgiving was on.

After all the food and, of course, more food, my friend and her cousin scoured through the newspapers for sales they wanted to shop, made a plan of what stores they were going to visit in what order and then we set off for shopping at 3-4pm — after I got a chance to wish on a wishbone with my teeth, as I had just washed my hands. Thankfully, our bellies were full of Thanksgiving goodness, as we were out shopping around and store-hopping until 9pm or so. Our first stop was Target for a new 55″ TV  for her parents and a few other things, mostly toys for her cousin’s kids. My, oh my, did we buy SOOOO many things for these kids. These two girls bought more than one present for each child, some to distribute among relatives to give to the kids — so the relatives didn’t have to do the shopping themselves — or to just spoil the child. It was intense! I didn’t realise such things happened! At the end of our shopping trip, my friend’s receipt read: “You saved $560!” or something along those lines. It was shocking how much money we “would’ve spent otherwise.” Ironically, on the other hand, my friend’s mother had already finished all her “Black Friday shopping” by 8am Thanksgiving MORNING! Either way though, it was fun to just experience a less crazy version of the Black Friday shopping rush I had heard about growing up.

Sunday, 29 Nov

After a crazy Turkey weekend, a dinner at Medieval Times with a colleague from my Dublin days, and some nostalgic visits to my favourite suburban stores (e.g. Kohls, Big Lots, Goodwill, Costco), I headed on home today. I left my beloved friend after a brunch at my beloved IHOP and hopped myself onto my bus home to Boston. I got to NYC smoothly and just barely caught my bus to Boston. Sadly enough, my bus to Boston ran into some troubles and traffic and we didn’t arrive as planned at 9-10pm. Instead, we had to stop just outside of Boston, as our bus was having issues, and switched onto a different bus, delaying us — after a slow chug out of NYC — until we finally arrived home in Boston at 11pm. From there, it took me an hour to get back to my apartment where I flopped like a fish out of water — then laid dead still — at midnight.

The USPS truck I saw in Downtown Boston as I was going to my bus to Maryland.

“Today”I Learned

  • The United State Postal Service (USPS) has mobile trucks that sell stamps and stuff! It’s so cool!
  • Those swirly energy saving lightbulbs are lit by “gas” instead of “filament“, thus they do NOT work with dimmer switches.
  • Turkeys come with their necks and innards (known as giblets) IN the turkey and their wings and thighs tucked into them, under the skin, to be taken out and untucked before the turkey is put into the oven.
  • There are MBTA buses that say “Instruction Bus” across the top, where it usually displays what bus route the bus is running on, for bus drivers in training.

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